Amitabh Bachchan. The name itself has a lot of weight to it and holds a great history of art to it. His father, Kavi Harivansh Rai Bachchan who was a poet and whose contribution to the Indian literature was immense named Amitabh “Inquilab Rai Bachchan” when he was born. But because of the insistence of his friends, Inquilab became Amitabh. Although his mother, Teji Bachchan had an affinity towards theatre, acting in films was never really an option for him. It wasn’t until he went to college (Sherwood) in Nainital that he found his passion for acting and films. Amitabh has often said “I never thought as a child that I’ll enter films. When we went to see films in Allahabad, I never imagined that one day I’ll be on the big screen”.
Before the Inception
After the completion of his graduation, he headed to Calcutta to make something out of his life. He started out with a job at a shipping firm named Bird and Co. But soon realized that although he was making money, it wasn’t pleasing his inner self. He then embarked on a journey to Bombay to make a life in the film industry. But, things didn’t go as he planned.
Amitabhji faced rejection quite a number of times because a lot of producers and directors thought that one of the qualities he’s known, for now, his height standing at 6 feet 3 inches, was a problem. Another reason for the rejection was the thought that he was a bit too dark to be exposed on film. Even his voice which is now one of the trademark qualities, and loved by millions was considered too deep by the All India Radio.
Film Career and Progress
Dejected and at the verge of giving up, his stars aligned and he got cast as one of the seven main men in the film “Saat Hindustani” (1969) by director Khwaja Ahmed Abbas. Though the film wasn’t a financial success, Amitabh bagged a national award for a debut actor and this gave him a head start to what is now considered one of the best careers of Bollywood. Following this, Anand (1971), a heart-wrenching film directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee was a game changer for Amitabh. Starring alongside Rajesh Khanna, he did a stupendous job which won him a Filmfare award for best-supporting actor. This time, the film was successful at the box office.
But it wasn’t until Zanjeer (1973), his 13th film, that people actually heard the name of “Amitabh Bachchan”. Zanjeer completely changed the course of things for him. It turned out to be a great film and he never had to look back again. Many offers started to flow and some of his remarkable hits like Deewar (1975), Sholay (1975), Don (1978), Suhaag (1979), Naseeb (1981), Yaarana (1981), Laawaris (1981), Namak Halaal (1982), Andha Kanoon (1983), made him the “Shahanshah of Bollywood”.
He met Jaya Bhaduri on film sets and he was attracted to her at first. In his words “First I saw her pictures. She looked small, cute and impish. Then Hrishikesh approached me for Guddi, and I came to know that Jaya was the actress. I first met her on the sets. We liked each other’s company, went out together and had a good group on the sets,”. They soon fell in love and got married while making the movie “Abhimaan”, which was the first film released after their marriage. From being a sidelight on the scene, he became the undisputed star of Hindi Movies.
With a splendid performance in “Amar Akbar Anthony”, he won the best actor award for the first in the year 1977. With the movie “Don”, he was named the best actor yet again in 1978, making it two consecutive awards for him. Yash Chopra, with his movies “Kabhie Kabhie” and “Silsila” in which Amitabh starred, proved that he can also portray different kinds of characters without losing the essence of the character.
A Speed Bump
When he was at the peak of his career, things took a turn when he was seriously injured while filming a fight scene on the sets of “Coolie”. Knowing this, the fans all over the nation were devastated and a few people also assumed that this was the end of his career. But he made a stable recovery and although this was a hiccup in his career, the Shahanshah returned to the throne and continues to make movies till date.
His movies like Baghban, Black, Sarkar, Sarkar Raj, Cheeni Kam, Paa, Piku and Pink, he continues to be the crown of Bollywood and is proving his worth on the big screen. Fans are still waiting out for his upcoming films Padman, Thugs of Hindostan, 102 not out, etc. Here’s to an unending legacy of greatness.